Does using a third party vendor management system automatically mean the loss of direct relationships? Ask any number of people on the vendor side of our industry, and odds are they’ll say yes.
Normally, there is a contract in place between the healthcare organization (HCO) and vendor. They work directly with one another, communicating as needed. However, when using the majority of vendor management systems (VMS) and managed services providers (MSP), this is not the case. HCOs and vendors no longer contract with one another directly, and instead are only contracted with the VMS/MSP. The HCO is no longer a client of the vendor, and there is no direct contract between the two.
No direct contract = no direct communication. Not exactly ideal in business, huh?
Not only is open, direct communication important for providing quality service and ensuring customer satisfaction, it’s also key to building strong client relationships. People do business with people they like, who they know have their best interests at heart, who they’ve built a relationship with. Unfortunately, the opportunity for cultivating those relationships vanishes when there is no direct contract, and therefore no direct communication.
That all being said, I don’t believe things have to be that way. Participating in a VMS/MSP doesn’t have to mean the loss of direct relationships, as long as open communication is incorporated into the system in the first place. I know it works, because it’s part of what we offer with LocumsMart.
With our vendor backgrounds, Bob and I were all too familiar with the communication issue, so we took that into account while crafting our system. As a result, LocumsMart is available as a tool that HCOs and vendors can use to streamline and track their workflow, but their contracting relationship remains a direct relationship. We want our members to be able to communicate as much or as little as needed, without us getting in the way.
Participating in a VMS or MSP shouldn’t have to mean losing the relationship with a client. These systems should be efficient channels for communication, not the end of it.